We’re all going to wonder how to get to Sesame Street when it returns for its 46th season this January. And it won’t be because that catchy theme song is stuck in our heads.
HBO, which bought the rights to air the program from PBS in a bit of a shocking deal earlier this year, has announced Jan. 16 as the new season debut date, along with quite a few changes to the actual show.
Some of them, like jazzed up new sets and shorter overall episodes (the new format is 30 minutes) are smaller changes. But there’s also a pretty big change in store: a new theme song.
Okay, so at least they aren’t completely messing with the theme song, as in the lyrics are still the same. But this new version is a bit snappier, up tempo and features some of the main characters like Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby pretty prominently. We’re still a little on the fence about whether we’re into it or not, but you know what they say about change.
At it’s heart the show’s goals are still the same, according to HBO. Sesame Street has always been about helping preschool children grow smarter, stronger and kinder and those principles are very much intact. In fact to help them along, the series is introducing a new character named Nina, played by Suki Lopez. Nina is a bilingual Hispanic woman who has moved to the famous street to work at the laundromat and bike store. According to the broadcaster, she’ll come up with some “out-of-the-box solutions” to the gang’s problems.
We’ve also learned that Cookie Monster has gotten a bit of a promotion, and will now have his own segment called “Smart Cookies,” so that he can continue regulating all of those delicious cookies he eats and make good decisions. Along with his “crime-fighting cookie friends” he’ll fight off the efforts of a villain called The Crumb, naturally.
As for the new set? Turns out a lot of characters have decided to move in between seasons. Elmo now has his own bedroom in a corner brownstone, Big Bird’s got a brand new nest, Cookie Monster is now above Hooper’s Store so that he can smell the fresh baked goods, and Oscar the Grouch has a more central can so that he can provide running commentary. This is a show about learning, however, so watch for him to pop up in some recycling bins across Sesame Street too.
Last, but not least, what would Sesame Street be without some fun celebrity cameos? As such, the likes of Gwen Stefani, Pharrell, Nick Jonas, Alan Cumming, Ne-Yo and Gina Rodriguez are already slated to stop by for some good songs and parodies.
Check out the new theme song and an overall season preview, above.